Over reaction or Innocent Mistake 8


I got on facebook this evening and saw a post by a fellow Special Needs Parent.  She was at her local Wal-Mart and snapped this photo.

If you look closely you will see this is a photo of the off color humored tshirts at Wal-Mart.  Right in the middle is a Special Olympics tshirt.  My friend, and myself took offence.  I quickly reposted to facebook and posted a tweet to Special Olympics and Wal-Mart asking for comment.

I have not heard back from either Special Olympics or Wal-Mart but have heard from a number of people.  A number of people are taking offence to the placement but a number do not see the issue.  A common theme with the “non-issue” side of the fence is that Wal-Mart is a huge supporter of Special Olympics and Special Olympics must be allowing their logo to be used.

Wal-Mart is a huge supporter of Special Olympics, and Special Olympics probably did allow usage of their logo, but my argument is about context.  Special Olympics is about support and acceptance of individuals with Special Needs.  By placing a Special Olympics tshirt next to a tshirt that reads “Your Face – 3 Million Dislikes” the context is NOT one of support and acceptance.

However Wal-Mart can fix this, and rather easy.  The easy way out would be to remove the shirt.  I would go one step further.  I would take the shirts, put them on and endcap or rack with a sign that says something like “By purchasing a Special Olympics tshirt you are supporting the activities of Special Olympics”.

Thoughts?????

*UPDATE*
Walmart or Special Olympics if you have a comment please feel free to leave a comment or email me at josh at ourfamilyof4.com

*UPDATE2*
I just got this email from an official Walmart rep.
Hi Josh,
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. My name is Dianna Gee and I work with Walmart Media Relations. 

The placement of the Special Olympics t-shirts was not intended to offend anyone, but we understand how this might have been perceived as insensitive. That’s why we are working with our store managers to move the t-shirts to another area.

As you mentioned in your post, Walmart is committed to supporting the Special Olympics. In fact, the t-shirt is officially licensed by the Special Olympics and a portion of each sale goes directly to the Special Olympics. 

Thank you, 
Dianna 


8 thoughts on “Over reaction or Innocent Mistake

  • Jonathan

    Definitely poor taste.

    It would seem more appropriate to have SO shirts in the athletic gear section just like various other sports team shirts can be found.

    Just another reason to shop Target.

    …danielle

  • Tooz

    Absolutely agree with your idea about moving the shirts to another location and adding the sign–respect! That’s what it’s all about!

  • sally tilli

    I noticed that too, and it seemed like it was placed with T-shirts that were mocking other things and I felt like it was kinda making a joke of special olympics and that organization certainly deserves more respect than that!!

  • blogzilly

    I’m probably going to be in the minority.

    I’m not offended.

    Offense requires intent, in my opinion.

    I don’t think the intent is there, on the part of either organization. So I am therefore not offended. Wal-Mart is a business, like any other, and I personally detest large corporations, so I am shocked I am coming to the defense of one.

    But in this case, they have a T-Shirt, amongst many, that they put out on their shelves. It is in the Logo T-Shirt Section because it is a Logo T-Shirt. They do police the content, and the surrounding content is not, according to Wal-Mart standards, not offensive. I also do not find it offensive. Having had some experience with Wal-Mart on a retail buying level in the past I will tell you, they DO reject things based on content. I’ve witnessed it.

    The fact that it is Wal-Mart, in every town and city across the states and lots of other places, gets more people exposed to the brand of Special Olympics. That is a good thing.

    Looking at the display rack, and making the assumption or drawing a conclusion that a person MUST be associative with the surrounding logos is just that, an assumption of what another consumer’s buying experience should or could be, in a retail environment that is, by my reckoning, 100% natural for the product.

    Now, if the T-shirt were surrounded by Adult ‘massaging devices’, let’s call them, well, I’d be pissed.

    Would it be great if Wal-Mart went above and beyond and gave the shirt an end cap? Hell yeah! But that is actually the responsibility of the person producing the shirts to make arrangements for, not Special Olympics (who probably licensed the logo to the manufacturer to raise money for their cause) or Wal-Mart.

    And Wal-Mart already does a lot of charitable stuff, so they aren’t able to be challenged in that arena, either.

    So I don’t know…it’s not an open and shut case, just my opinion.

    Just don’t work for Wal-Mart if you happen to be a woman, which is why in the end I agree with Danielle anyway, shop at Target. It’s cleaner, too.

  • Dianna Gee

    Hi Josh,
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. My name is Dianna Gee and I work with Walmart Media Relations.

    The placement of the Special Olympics t-shirts was not intended to offend anyone, but we understand how this might have been perceived as insensitive. That’s why we are working with our store managers to move the t-shirts to another area.

    As you mentioned in your post, Walmart is committed to supporting the Special Olympics. In fact, the t-shirt is officially licensed by the Special Olympics and a portion of each sale goes directly to the Special Olympics.

    Thank you,
    Dianna

  • Ellen

    Nice work there, Josh. Like Ken, I didnt find this offensive, just thoughtless. I do think it’s admirable that they responded to your complaint and moved the shirt.

  • amy s.

    I saw these recently as well and was also offended at their placement in the “humorous” shirt section. Thank you for bringing attention to this online.

  • Anonymous

    I saw this today at my local Walmart in Keene, NH. I was so outraged that I googled “Special Olympics Walmart” as soon as I got home to see if anyone else out there was feeling like me. I have a 10 y.o special olympian with autism. I guess if the President can mock the Special O’s, why not Walmart? So frustrating.

Comments are closed.